USA-T&T Preview: Olympic berth on line Friday

The USA should book its ticket to the Rio Olympics when it plays Trinidad & Tobago Friday night in Houston in the semifinals of Concacaf Olympic women's qualifying.

It has won all nine games against the Women’s Soca Warriors, most recently a 6-0 win in December. But T&T managed to give the USA a scare the last time they played a competitive match, the USA's 1-0 win in 2015 Women's World Cup qualifying.

T&T has made a coaching change since its last meeting. Houston Dash coach Randy Waldrum who led the Women’s Soca Warriors to within one goal of qualifying for the 2015 Women's World Cup, was not retained by new Trinidad and Tobago Football Association president David John-Williams over what John-Williams termed was a "failure to submit documentation" regarding Waldrum's plans for the national team.

Waldrum was popular with players on the national team and championed their plight for lack of support and funding from the TTFA, which struggled for many years under the control of Jack Warner and since Warner's downfall.

Richard Hood replaced Waldrum as T&T coach and immediately experienced the same problems when a two-game trip to Costa Rica to prepare for Olympic qualifying was cancelled for financial problems.

T&T needed to beat Guyana to clinch a berth in the semifinals and prevailed, 5-1, to set up a date with the USA.

“It’s going to be an extremely difficult task,” Hood told reporters afterwards. “It’s not something that the opponent looks forward to. It will always be an honor to take the field against such a team. We will try our best and do the best that we can. I think that’s all that we can do at this point.”

USA Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Ashlyn Harris (Orlando Pride), Alyssa Naeher (Chicago Red Stars), Hope Solo (Seattle Reign).
DEFENDERS (7): Jaelene Hinkle (Western NY Flash), Julie Johnston (Chicago Red Stars), Meghan Klingenberg (Portland Thorns), Ali Krieger (Washington Spirit), Kelley O'Hara (Sky Blue FC), Becky Sauerbrunn (FC Kansas City), Emily Sonnett (Portland Thorns).
MIDFIELDERS (5): Morgan Brian (Houston Dash), Tobin Heath (Portland Thorns), Lindsey Horan (Portland Thorns), Carli Lloyd (Houston Dash), Samantha Mewis (Western NY Flash).
FORWARDS (5): Crystal Dunn (Washington Spirit), Stephanie McCaffrey (Boston Breakers), Alex Morgan (Orlando Pride), Christen Press (Chicago Red Stars); Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado).

Trinidad & Tobago Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Shalette Alexander (Wiley College), Saundra Baron (Unattached), Kimika Forbes (Unattached).
DEFENDERS (5): Danielle Blair (GS United/CAN), Jenelle Cunningham (Real Dimension), Liana Hinds (Univ. of Connecticut), Arin King (GS United/CAN), Anastasia Prescott (Unattached).
MIDFIELDERS (10): Maylee Attin-Johnson (Central FC), Kennya Cordner (Unattached), Khadidra Debesette (West Texas A&M Univ.), Karyn Forbes (West Texas A&M Univ.), Janine Francois (Real Dimension), Naomi Guerra (St. Augustine Secondary), Ahkeela Mollon (La Brea Angels), Tasha St. Louis (St. Ann's FC), Victoria Swift (Navarro College), Kayla Taylor (Wiley College).
FORWARD (2): Jo Marie Lewis (St. Ann's FC), Mariah Shade (US Rouvroy/FRA).
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